By Priyanka Chaturvedi
A lot has been written about the Delhi rape and how this country needs to get a few basics right whether it is in the form of judicial reforms, police reforms or bringing in more stringent laws. While all these were the good intentioned suggestions coming from various sources, there were some from prominent leaders whose cringe worthy opinions/suggestions not only left everyone speechless but also enraged.
What is extremely worrying is the mindset that comes across of these well known personalities. Some elected, some followed widely. Their comments also establish one thing clearly – that a woman’s struggle in India for equal rights and to a life of dignity and independence in the truest sense is still an uphill task. Such blatant misogynist politicians should find no place in the democracy.
The Congress party which is at the center for the maximum years in the country since Independence has introduced women friendly policies and passed acts to empower women and make them an integral in the male dominated country as much as possible. The party has been committed to women’s rights and equal opportunities to women not only in every sphere but also in the democratic parliamentary system. And it is a party which walks the talk starting from within the party. Even till date some of the most important positions in the party are held by women. The party’s commitment to various bills that are awaiting approval is as strong as ever.
The recent utterances by top leaders of some well-known parties go on to show how biased we are towards our women. Let us start with Mohan Bhagwat who had a Bharat vs India theory in his head on why rape occur ‘Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat’ Really sir? Have you read any statistics before passing a general comment like that? Here’s news for you- While the National Crime Records Bureau does not split registered cases of sexual assault by rural and urban areas, Mrinal Satish, an associate professor of law at Delhi’s National Law University, used court data to find that 75% of rape cases that led to convictions over the last 25 years were from rural India. The statistics itself should prove just how beyond logic his comment is.
Now here is a piece of advice to women coming from a Madhya Pradesh minister from the BJP Kailash Vijayvargiya – women must not cross the ‘Lakshman rekha’ to avoid unwanted consequences. Coming from a minister of a state which barring one year in the last two decades has led the country for the highest number of rapes In 2011 there were 3,406 reported cases of rape in Madhya Pradesh which is approximately works out to nine rapes every day. Zero empathy and shameless comparison.
Chattisgarh BJP MP had this to say referring to a rape case involving minor inmates of a state-run school ‘The rape of grown up girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, it is a heinous crime and the offenders should be hanged.’ Phew is it as minor an issue and insensitive thing to discuss and debate. Yes it is terrible if such an incident happens to minors but the horror just because you are a grown up and a woman does not make it any lesser. Dear minister you are the one who needs to grow up!
Abu Asim Azmi a prominent politician from Samajwadi Party wanted a law against a man-woman being together. He also had views on appropriate dress sense for women to avoid rapes. Then of course there was Asaram Bapu who had some ludicrous suggestion for the women and some advise also came from a lady scientist Anita Shukla who while addressing a seminar on ‘Sensitivity towards Women’ called by the Madhya Pradesh police department said that there had been no need of removing the victim’s intestine if she would have surrendered herself before the rapists.
There are many more, plenty more. Now that their misogynist thoughts and words are out in the public domain isn’t it time to decide if such elected people should continue to enjoy our support. This is how they talk publicly in front of cameras wonder how their thought process works in private? And if such are their irresponsible thoughts about women when in opposition, shudder to think what will happen if they ever end up being at the center.